GOVERNOR Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Bello Maitama Yusuf, former minister of internal affairs in the Second Republic, are at daggers drawn over an alleged diversion of more than N15 million campaign funds. The former senator was said to have diverted the N15 million given to for electioneering in his constituency to his personal use. Lamido, who claimed to have personally approved that the money should be given to Yusuf, alleged that shortly after the former minister collected the funds from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Consequently, the governor has asked for his arrest with a view to recovering the money disbursed for purposes of electioneering. On Thursday, April 18, Lamido was said to have vowed to jail Yusuf before leaving office on May 29. The governor’s text message, according to Yusuf, read: “True, I have only five weeks to go, but I will jail you before I go. We also, today (Thursday, April 16) at council meeting, discussed Garun Gabas road contract and by council authority sent all related documents to the EFCC and copied same to Buhari, the president-elect.”
On his part, Senator Yusuf has taken the leadership of PDP in Jigawa State to a Federal High Court in Dutse, capital of Jigawa State, alleging defamation and character assassination. He said no amount of threat and intimidation from Lamido would stop him from exposing the governor’s activities. “He is just not happy with my defection to the APC and if he continues to threaten me, I will expose some of his shady deals. So, we will see who will be jailed,” Yusuf said.
APC Demands Cancellation of Taraba Election
THE All Progressives Congress, APC, wants the total cancellation of the governorship election results in the 11 local government areas of Taraba State affected by irregularities. The party does not also want a fresh election to hold under the supervision of the current security and staff of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, alleging that “they have shown sufficient evidence of bias and complicity in the April 11 election.”
“Alternatively, the result of the entire state should be cancelled and a fresh election conducted. This is in view of the widespread irregularities in most of the local government areas of the state.”
Addressing journalists at the APC headquarters in Abuja, on Thursday, April 16, John Odigie Oyegun, national chairman of the party, said Senator Aisha Al’hassan, the APC’s governorship candidate, was confident of victory if the re-run election would be conducted in a free and fair atmosphere.
“I will say that appeal has been made to INEC that the kind of cancellation that are being undertaken are superficial whereas the transgression during the electoral process are of such magnitude that there are only two possibilities. Either the election in Wukari and Sardauna is totally discountenanced and fresh election held or the totality of the election in that state should be redone,” he said.
Giving details of the alleged malpractices during the governorship election in the state, Al’hassan said elections did not hold in accordance with the INEC guidelines in many Wards cutting across many local government areas.
She listed the affected local government areas to include Wukari, Kurmi, Yorro, Karim Lamido, Ardo Kola, Sardauna, Zing, Bali, Lau, Donga and Takum.
She, therefore, urged the INEC to immediately launch a probe into the conduct of the April 11 governorship election in the state to ensure that the rights of the people of the state to choose their leaders were not compromised by conniving INEC officials, security and desperate PDP members.
In his reaction, Emmanuel Bello, commissioner for Information and Strategy in the state, claimed that the allegation against the state acting governor was not only wrong but also an act of desperation by the APC, who were afraid of defeat by the Peoples Democratic Part, PDP.
Jonathan Hands Over May 28
CONTRARY to wide expectations, President Goodluck Jonathan will formally hand over to General Muhammadu Buhari’s new administration on May 28.
Patricia Akwashiki, minister of Information, who disclosed this on Wednesday, April 15, to State House correspondents after the federal executive council meeting, said President Jonathan had, therefore, given all ministers with request for approvals from his office until May 13, deadline to forward such requests to his office.
Similarly, all ministries, department and agencies, MDAs, were asked to submit their briefs to the secretary of the government of the federation, SGF, by Monday, April 20, week to enable the president to prepare his handover notes on time.
The deadlines, according to Akwashiki, would enable the president prepare his handover notes on May 28.
She, however, said the decisions would not stop government activities during period of transition but cautioned that government would not engage in activities to suggest that it was rushing through some programmes before its exit.
“As you are all aware, we have transitional committee already set up by president, headed by the Vice President. Other than that, we have an inaugural committee that is headed by the SGF. So, everything we are doing, we are doing to achieve smooth transition, getting all our notes together.
“By May 28th, the president intends to have the formal handing over done at a dinner so that we can reserve the 29th for the incoming. By May 28th, we expect to have concluded one way governance and we are welcoming incoming government.
“Also, you know May 29th is our Democracy Day. So, we have activities lined up all through that week, showcasing all what we have achieved and all other things we do normally on our Democracy Day. Except that this year is special with the inauguration of our new president that is coming up on the May 29th,” Akwashiki said.
Tinubu Vs. AIT Gets May 27 Date
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, on Thursday, April 16, adjourned a N150 billion libel suit filed by Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State against African Independent Television, until May 27.
Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe adjourned the suit for further direction after hearing the submissions of the counsels representing the two parties.
Tinubu had instituted the suit against Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT, for airing a documentary titled “Lion of Bourdilion.” The judge had on April 1, granted an interlocutory injunction restraining the broadcast station from further airing the documentary, pending the determination of the libel suit.
At the resumption of proceedings on Thursday, Ayodele Adedipe, counsel to Tinubu, told the court that the claimant had filed Forms 17 and 18 which had been served on the defendant.
However, Jeffery Kadiri, counsel to the Daar Communications Plc, while admitting service, noted that the 42 days period the defendant was expected to file a reply had not elapsed.
Kadiri said the defendant intended to file a counter-claim and join issues with the claimant, adding that a long adjournment was needed to ensure that all processes get into the court’s file.
Following the development, the judge adjourned the matter, directing that all documents relating to the suit be filed to enable the parties proceed to pre-trial conference.
Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, filed the suit claiming that the documentary, which AIT started airing on March 1, was defamatory “in all respects”.
Wole Olanipekun, SAN, his lead counsel, said the documentary showcased various propertyand companies across Lagos State purportedly owned by Tinubu and then described him as “Nigeria’s biggest landlord.”
Olanipekun said the programme, which was being sponsored to tarnish his client’s reputation, also claimed that Tinubu was “charged for narcotics” in 1993 in the United States.
Responding, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, lead counsel to the AIT, argued that the content of the documentary were facts which had been in the public domain for more than two decades.
— Apr. 27, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT